Melissa McCarthy co-wrote and co-produced her new film, “Tammy,” with her husband, Ben Falcone.
Then, Ben took the director reins while Melissa starred in the movie.
Despite the copious amounts of time together on set, Melissa said she and Ben don’t enforce a “leave work at work” policy at home.
“We really met working together and writing together and it’s always been an easy thing that we can do together,” Melissa told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson at the “Tammy” junket. “And I always want his advice. Like, he’s a smart fella and funny!
“He really has a great ability to keep a bird’s eye view of things and I would never want him not to say something,” she continued. “And if something doesn’t feel right to him, I want to know immediately and then we want to figure out how to change.”
Ben and Melissa (who have been married for nine years and have two children together), started working on the “Tammy” script six years ago, after the idea came to Ben in a dream.
“He had a dream — he literally came down blurry-eyed, hair all over the place, and said, ‘I had the weirdest dream and I think I should write it. You go on a road trip with your grandmother. She’s an alcoholic and I think she sleeps around,’” Melissa recalled. “I was like, ‘You want coffee first? Do we have to start like, immediately? ‘Cause it’s really early!’ And we had coffee and it was one of those really vivid dreams, and he couldn’t get it out of his head, and the more we started talking about it, it just kind of developed and we worked on it for about six years.”
Susan Sarandon plays Melissa’s character’s grandmother, who is an alcoholic and very sexually active – traits which didn’t deter Susan from taking the role.
“She’s an amazing actress and I think it was so far off of who and what she is that, to me it was like, ‘Do you want to play your opposite?’” Melissa said, of how she and Ben approached Susan about taking the role. “I didn’t see it ever being an insult as much as I saw it as, ‘Do you want to really get into a character because she doesn’t look like you, she doesn’t maneuver like you, she doesn’t walk like you.’”
In addition to filmmaking, Melissa has started her own clothing line for plus-sized women, an idea she had after years of designing her own clothing after finding limited in-store options.
“This is not a blanket statement, ‘cause there’s great things out there, but overall I found a lot of things that were a plus-size too old. I found things a little matronly, or a little too young,” she said. “It’s like, I didn’t want a rhinestone tiger tank top! I don’t know why, but I didn’t want that.
“And I also didn’t want something that looks like I’m the great-grandmother at a wedding. And I thought where is the middle?” she continued. “Where is just like kind of the modern, cool, you know, separate pieces and like good pants, good T-shirts, cool things? And I couldn’t really find it.”
See Melissa, Susan, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Sandra Oh and more in “Tammy” – in theaters on July 2.
-- Erin O’Sullivan